The Bishops’ Appeal Advent and Christmas Appeal for 2023 is focused on supporting those who are in great need in the Middle East. The Holy Lands, the lands where Jesus himself lived and worked and worshipped. Where he demonstrated God’s love, compassionate kindness, and saving grace through his sacrificial death on the Cross for all mankind.
Where today the ‘little town of Bethlehem’ that we will sing about in our Carol Services is only a short distance from the devastation being experienced in Gaza, and from the kibbutz area where Hamas carried out their deadly massacre on 7 October.
Where just as 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary had to flee with the infant Jesus to another land to escape violence and threats upon their life, so today many are having to flee from their homes to become refugees in other places, leaving behind what is left of their homes and possessions.
There is no doubt of the level of suffering that this conflict has caused, with men, women and children killed, injured, made homeless, and lives utterly devastated by the violence.
The Advent and Christmas Appeal this year asks that if you can, you give something to help those most affected. Those fleeing Gaza as refugees, those needing emergency medical care, temporary accommodation, practical help, food, medicines, support, care.
Our focus on the desperate needs in the Middle East enables us to partner with the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough who are running the ‘Shine A Light for the Diocese of Jerusalem’ campaign, and also to help with the overwhelming needs of displaced people who are now living in Lebanon as well.
Our intention is to channel the funds raised through our trusted partners on the ground – the Diocese of Jerusalem (with whom the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough has been in relationship for a number of years) in their outreach to those impacted by war, and also to Tearfund partners working in Lebanon and in some of the areas and countries bordering Gaza and Israel where already things are precarious and extremely tense. Where there is the danger of further tension, violence and devastation erupting at any time.
We are so aware that many people have given so very generously to Bishops’ Appeal during 2023 – to the victims of the earthquakes in Syria, Turkey and Morocco, the floods in Libya, and ongoing support for the victims of the war in Ukraine, and we are so grateful to all those who have given.
Yet as we move towards Advent and Christmas, it seems only right to maximise the focus on those in great need in the Holy Lands region and encourage those who are able to give – however small your gift may seem in the face of such unimaginable need, it will all add up, it will make a difference. £10 or £50, €5 or €50. It might cover an emergency food parcel, medicine, temporary shelter, or whatever the greatest need will be for that person.
Bishops’ Appeal envelopes are available in each diocese, or donations can be made directly AT THIS LINK for those who prefer to give online.
Damage following an air raid in Gaza in early October. Photo credit: Ibrahim Zaanoun/Tearfund.